2009 UAB Preview
UAB QB Joe Webb
UAB QB Joe Webb
Posted Jul 21, 2009

CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - UAB Blazer Preview

UAB Blazers

Preview 2009

By Richard Cirminiello    

2009 CFN UAB Preview | 2009 UAB Offense Preview
- 2009 UAB Defense Preview
| 2009 UAB Depth Chart
2008 UAB Preview | 2007 UAB Preview
| 2006 UAB Preview

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Head coach: Neil Callaway
3rd year: 6-18
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 28, Def. 23, ST. 0
Lettermen Lost: 14
Ten Best UAB Players
1. QB Joseph Webb, Sr.
2. C Jake Seitz, Sr.
3. WR Frantrell Forrest, Jr.
4. DE Bryant Turner, Jr.
5. RB Rashaud Slaughter, Sr.
6. OL Terence Edge, Jr.
7. DT D.J. Reese, Jr.
8. CB Terrell Springs, Soph.
9. TE Jeffery Anderson, Jr.
10. S Chase Daniel, Soph..

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2009 Record: 0-0

9/5 Rice
9/12 SMU
9/19 at Troy
9/26 at Texas A&M
10/1 Southern Miss
10/17 at Ole Miss
10/24 at Marshall
10/31 at UTEP
11/7 Florida Atlantic
11/14 at Memphis
11/21 at East Carolina
11/28 UCF

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 4-8

8/30 Tulsa L 45-22
9/6 at Florida Atlantic L 49-24
9/13 at Tennessee L 35-3
9/20 Alabama State W 45-10
9/27 at So Carolina L 26-13
10/2 Memphis L 33-30
10/11 at Houston L 45-20
10/18 Marshall  W 23-21
11/1 at Southern Miss L 70-14
11/15 at Tulane W 41-24
11/22 East Carolina L 17-13
11/29 at UCF W 15-0

Now that UAB has been making mild progress under third-year head coach Neil Callaway, is it ready to take another step and start knocking on the postseason door? That’s what the coaching staff has been working toward since it arrived in Birmingham.

The Blazers feel as if the wind is finally at their backs after blowing out Tulane and UCF, and nearly shocking eventual Conference USA champ East Carolina to close out the 2008 season. They’ve also got a slew of returning lettermen, especially on the offensive side of the ball. It’s here where the greatest hope can be found. Every starter returns, including multi-dimensional QB Joe Webb, a deep corps of receivers, and a veteran line that’s going to surprise some opponents this fall. The offense ought to be much crisper. Strike that. The offense better be much crisper because an already-leaky defense has a few more holes to plug at linebacker and in the secondary. Oh, and Swayze Waters, the best kicker to ever wear the green and gold is now in the NFL, robbing UAB of its most reliable offensive weapon.

With some coaching, junior-college transfers, and masking tape, Callaway and his assistants are beginning to build a foundation at UAB. Erecting something stable and long-lasting, however, is proving to be a mighty big challenge. The Blazers will be a little feistier than in recent in recent years, but that goal of a bowl bid is likely to escape them. With depth and talent issues on defense, and a prickly schedule, they’ll be fortunate to trump last year’s 4-8 mark.  

What to watch for on offense: More support from the running backs. Sure, UAB loves having a 1,000-yard rusher at quarterback, but Joe Webb is so valuable to the program, it would be nice if he could get more help on the ground from the backs. The Blazers were 39th nationally on the ground, but the numbers are a little deceiving. After Webb, Rashaud Slaughter and Justin Brooks were the team’s top rushers at 514 and 218 yards, respectively. If UAB wants to keep Webb upright and defenses on their heels, it’s incumbent upon Slaughter, Brooks, and Dexter Barnett to be more visible than they’ve been in the past.

What to watch for on Defense: The pass rush. It’s no secret that the Blazers are facing serious issues in the back seven, where just a couple of full-timers are back with the team. One way to ease the pain of the linebackers and defensive backs is to get more of an up field push, which has been missing for years in Birmingham. At one defensive end spot, Bryant Turner is fine, but on the other side, he needs more help from the likes of Anthony Barnes and Derek Slaughter, a JUCO transfer, who hit the ground running in his first spring.

The team will be far better if … the defense plays an entire season the way it did toward the end of 2008. Over the last three games, UAB allowed just 41 points and, not coincidentally, went 2-1 with a four-point loss. Somehow, some way, the Blazers have to tap into that stretch run and deliver better-than-expected results on the defensive side of the ball. It won’t be easy, but it will be necessary because this program isn’t built to win weekly shootouts.

The Schedule: Are the Blazers ever going to play at home? There are seven road games in a nine-game span, with five in six weeks coming off the bye week, and the home games aren't all that helpful outside of a game against Southern Miss. While it might normally be a nice thing to play two teams from the Sun Belt, UAB has to play the league's two best in Troy and Florida Atlantic. Getting Rice, SMU and UTEP from the West isn't bad, and the conference road games, outside of a game at East Carolina, is fine.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Joe Webb. If there’s a star on this program, it’s Webb, the 6-4, 220-pound quarterback, who moves like super-sized tailback. He runs. He throws. He leads. He’s the face of the UAB program. In his breakthrough junior campaign, he threw for 2,367 yards, ran for 1,021 more, and accounted for 21 touchdowns. If he ever becomes a complete player who forces defenses to respect his arm as much as his legs, he’s going to be awfully difficult to contain.

Best Defensive Player: Junior DE Bryant Turner. With two seasons of experience in the vault, Turner has gradually evolved into one of Conference USA’s better pure pass rushers. A technically-sound 6-2, 260-pounder, he’ll use his leverage to get underneath the blocks of tackles and drive them back toward the pocket. In what many around the program hope was a building block season in 2008, he had seven tackles for loss and a team-high four sacks. 

Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Joe Webb. He was very good a year, but if the Blazers are going to do the improbable and play in December, he might have to be otherworldly in his final season in Birmingham. How good? How about as efficient through the air as he was on the ground, when he rushed for 1,000 yards, giving UAB some much-needed balance and unpredictability on offense?

The season will be a success if ... the Blazers win five games, their best season since 2005. Obviously, the school is eyeing bowl eligibility, but neither the schedule nor the defense is going to make that sixth win attainable. There isn’t a gimme on the slate, and road trips to Troy, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and East Carolina might all go in the loss column. With what’s facing them this fall, simply improving on last year’s 4-8 record would qualify as progress.

Key game: Sept. 5. vs. Rice. Sure, you don’t want to put too much stock in an opener, but when you’re UAB and your confidence is already fragile, a strong start is an absolute must. Heck, the program hasn’t won its season debut in five years, so this would really provide a nice boost. The Blazers feel they have momentum after finishing last season strong, but those feelings will dissipate if they can’t handle a rebuilding Rice team at home.

2008 Fun Stats:
- Sacks: Opponents 23 for 172 yards - UAB 15 for 116 yards
- Penalties: UAB 83 for 783 yards - Opponents 61 for 567 yards
- Punt return average: Opponents 11.6 - UAB 4.5

- 2009 CFN UAB Preview | 2009 UAB Offense Preview
- 2009 UAB Defense Preview
| 2009 UAB Depth Chart
2008 UAB Preview | 2007 UAB Preview
| 2006 UAB Preview




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2009 UAB Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 20, 2009
2009 UAB Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 20, 2009
2009 UAB Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 20, 2009

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